Old Favourites: The Editorial Team Share Their Top TV Shows, Books & Restaurants

With so much newness hitting our screens and bookshelves each month, sometimes it can be hard to know where to start if you’re looking for something good to read or watch. That’s why we asked the SL editorial team to share some of their all-time favourites – from a gripping podcast to binge-worthy series you might not have caught the first time around…

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Heather Steele

Managing Lifestyle Editor

I was reminded of how much I loved Lisa Taddeo’s 2019 debut Three Women when I interviewed bestselling writer Jojo Moyes the other week. An absolute feat of writing, it’s a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting by Taddeo. The result is a deep portrait of desire, and one which will leave you questioning the status quo by the end of the book. It’s not just the stories themselves that stick. Three Women grips you by the throat because it reads like fiction. By spending time with Lina, Maggie and Sloane over eight years and intertwining her life into theirs, Taddeo gets under the skin of each woman, and every chapter reads like a first-person account. Unlike the cast that surrounds each of the three protagonists – be they jury members, colleagues, parents, friends or partners – Taddeo doesn’t judge them for the decisions they make prior. She just listens. By laying bare the peril and inner torment women face when they are not believed, acknowledged or accommodated, Three Women is a cautionary tale not to be so critical of others.

Catching a criminal often requires the authorities to get inside the villain's mind to figure out how he thinks. In Netflix series Mindhunter, that's the job of FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) as they attempt to understand and snare serial killers by studying their damaged psyches. Along the way, the agents pioneer the development of modern serial-killer profiling. Directed by David Fincher (Gone Girl, Fight Club), this is a slow-burning 70s-set thriller – based on a true story – that will have you hooked (and then annoyed seeing as it’s currently on a long hiatus while Fincher wraps up a couple of films). An excellent soundtrack only adds to its watchability. 

On the food front, lively ramen joint Bone Daddies serves up 20-hour bone broths mixed and matched with decadent toppings – and is one of my failsafe options if I can’t think of where I want to eat. I always order the tonkotsu with chashu pork, an oozing, golden egg and all the chilli oil I can handle. For something a bit lighter – but that’s also big on Asian flavours – at home I turn to Donna Hay, especially her Week Light cookbook. Each of her books focus on quick and healthy meals that are full of flavour. Some of my go-tos include her chorizo and cauliflower Bolognese, and miso chicken meatballs.

Tor Cardona

Senior Wellness Editor

Without a doubt the best book I’ve read in the last few years, The Nightingale is the story of two sisters coming of age in France on the eve of World War II and their struggle to resist and survive the German occupation of France. Heart-breaking, compelling and beautifully written, it’s a story of women surviving in unthinkable circumstances and finding the courage to take risks. I still think about the story and characters often – fortunately, it’s currently being made into a film with Elle and Dakota Fanning.  

Tense, twisty and suspenseful, sci-fi thriller podcast Case 63 is one to try if you’re stuck in a podcast rut. The English adaptation of Caso 63 – Spotify’s most listened-to scripted original podcast in Latin America – it tells the story of New York psychiatrist Dr Eliza Knight (Julianne Moore) who begins treating a patient registered as Case 63 who claims to be from the year 2062. With multiple layers of intrigue and plenty of twists and turns, I’m waiting with bated breath for the next season.

In gripping real-life thriller Dark Waters, Mark Ruffalo plays a lawyer who takes on the company that dumped toxic chemicals in West Virginia for decades, leading to thousands of cases of cancer and disease. The chemical is still believed to be present in the bloodstream of 99% of Americans. A harrowing, true-life tale, this docu-drama is a must watch.

Georgina Blaskey

Homes & Interiors Editor

Whenever anyone asks me for a book recommendation, All The Light We Cannot See comes to mind. Culminating in 1944, the story explores the childhood and present lives of Marie-Laure, a blind French girl who flees the Nazis with her father to Saint Malo (carrying with them a valuable jewel to hide) and Werner, an orphan recruited into the Hitler Youth. As their lives slowly intertwine, the book highlights how people can be good to one another, against the odds.

I was hooked when Big Little Lies hit our screens in 2017. It tells the story of five mothers who are connected through their children’s school, and whose lives unravel, leading to a violent murder. Tackling hard-hitting themes, there’s also a sprinkling of dark comedy, with the cast perfectly executing the balance of the two. I’ve sat through many incarnations of Spiderman and Andrew Garfield is a firm favourite – so to see him light up the screen in 2021’s Tick, Tick… Boom! was a pleasant surprise. Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s the biographical musical comedy drama of Jonathan Larson, the writer of musical sensation Rent! As well as being a moving tribute to Larson, it’s a love letter to Broadway.

Last week I met a friend for lunch at Vardo in Sloane Square – I hadn’t been for a while, and I’d forgotten just how delicious it was. From the founders of Caravan, the food is global in style and we happily tucked into cauliflower, coconut and turmeric fritters, and clay oven-roasted halibut, mussels and samphire, with saffron yuzu cream. I love the design of the building – sculptural from the outside, bathed in light on the inside. The perfect lunch spot.

Rebecca Hull

Senior Beauty Editor

I still think about the novel The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides all the time. It’s a quick and engaging thriller with a mega plot twist that stays with you . I would be surprised if no TV or film adaptation comes out of it. The characters are just so easy to conjure up – you become fascinated by each one and you’re determined to unravel all the mysteries that surround them. The book focuses on Alicia – who commits a shocking act of violence against her husband – and her therapist Theo. You root for both at different times, as they enter a tense game of cat-and-mouse. If you're looking for a book to lose yourself in, this is it. 

Another book that still gives me the shivers is Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, which HBO then brought to the TV screen. The story focuses on Camille Preaker, a journalist who returns to her hometown to solve the murder of two young girls, but is forced to face her own twisted past, as well as some horrifying secrets that lie close to home. Camille is brought to life by Amy Adams, while her mother Adora Crellin is played by the eerie Patricia Clarkson, and her sister, Amma by the up-and-coming Eliza Scanlen. It's as dark as the book – both in terms of the setting and the behaviour of each character – with swift episodes that keep you guessing ‘whodunit’ right until the last two minutes of the show. When I say it's shocking, I mean it. 

Speaking of incredible shows, one of the best I've ever seen on the BBC is Giri Haji. Set in both Tokyo and London, it's a thriller that follows detective Kenzo Mori as he scours London's seedy underbelly in search of his allegedly deceased brother, Yuto. Along the way, he finds out what could have led to his disappearance, stumbling across a dangerous criminal circuit and nasty gang war. Line of Duty's Kelly McDonald plays one of the show's key characters, but it's nice to see some lesser-known names too. Each episode ends on a cliffhanger, so you'll want to binge it.

When it comes to old foodie favourites, nothing beats Bancone for me. I love the one in Soho's Golden Square. It has a concise but delicious menu of Italian classics – think rich ragus, truffle ravioli and chilli, garlic and parsley pasta. Don't miss the most-requested dish – silk handkerchiefs, walnut butter and confit egg yolk – it's so comforting. The wine list is great too – the Le Coste Trebbiano, Poderi Dal Nespoli is so clear, with a tiny fizz to it. 

Sherri Andrew

Lifestyle Editor

Pose hit our screens back in 2018 and it’s one of the very few TV series I’ve rewatched three or four times. Created by Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Crime Story) it’s based on New York's ballroom culture during the 80s and 90s, and follows a group in the LGBTQ+ community – some of whom are drag queens starting out in the ballroom scene. As well as being hilarious, fabulous and OTT, it’s one of the few shows I’ve seen that explores and celebrates trans identities. The story also focuses on the HIV/Aids crisis in the US and how it tore apart those communities. A joyous – and at times harrowing – watch. Another series that I loved was The Hollow Crown on the BBC. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench and Keeley Hawes, to name a few, the adaptation comprises seven Shakespearean plays, including Henry V and Richard III. It really inspired me to learn about that fascinating period of history.

Empire of Pain by investigative journalist Patrick Radden Keefe is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. It came out a couple of years ago and has won a string of awards for its rigorous research. The book tells the story of the Sackler family who owned the pharmaceutical company behind Oxycontin – an addictive opioid drug that has been one of the driving forces of the opioid crisis in the US. As well as the fascinating and horrifying central story, the book explores America’s pharmaceutical history and the consequences of its aggressive advertising. For something less heavy, the Who Weekly podcast really is an old favourite. Perfect if you want your weekly dose of pop culture news and celebrity gossip.

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